OOIDA set to take action against Ontario speed limiters

| 12/18/2007

“Do it now” is the latest advice from OOIDA’s government affairs staff to truckers in an effort to oppose mandatory speed limiters in the Canadian province of Ontario.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has also issued a Call to Action on the matter. It includes additional details and information on how to submit comments. Click here to read that OOIDA Call to Action.

The call for the pre-emptive strike initially went out Monday, Dec. 17, when OOIDA Government Affairs Counsel Laura O’Neill discussed the speed limiter issue on “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio.

O’Neill said she wants truckers to get involved before Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley fulfills a promise to file legislation to require speed limiters on all big trucks operating in the province. Bradley has said he intends to follow a push by the Ontario Trucking Association to have the government mandate that speed limiters be set at 105 km/h, or 65 mph, on all trucks doing business in the province.

“We need truckers to call regardless of where they’re from and reach out to the elected officials,” said O’Neill.

That applies to people from other Canadian provinces or even the U.S., she said, because the proposal will affect anyone who enters the province, including American truckers.

Following a provincial election in October, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty replaced former Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield – a supporter of mandatory speed limiters – with Bradley, who said he would also pursue the measure.

O’Neill wants truckers to have Bradley’s phone number, adding that it wouldn’t hurt for truckers to call Premier McGuinty either.

Bradley’s office number is (416) 327-9200, while McGuinty’s office can be reached at (416) 325-1941.

“I think when you call, just be very specific about what your experiences with speed limiters are,” O’Neill said.

“If you’re concerned that speed limiters don’t offer you the necessary power when you’re hauling heavy loads, or you think that speed limiters are really unsafe because they cause cars to pass you more frequently, or they create congestion, or what the real economic costs are. You’re a small business owner and it’s going to cost you ‘X amount’ of dollars to (activate) this device in your engine and it’s going to cost you ‘X amount’ of hours in productivity.

“These are things you need to make them aware of.”

O’Neill said that staffers working in the offices of elected officials need to know such things because they will pass them on to the officials.

“Don’t be shy and don’t think that your experiences couldn’t possibly impact their thought process up there. They absolutely will impact it,” she said.

O’Neill said the Ontario provincial government has given every indication that officials are preparing legislation behind the scenes. She said the government sources are reliable enough to merit action from truckers.

Ontario’s neighboring province to the east, Quebec, has also taken up the issue of speed limiters. Quebec officials have filed legislation that includes a mandate for speed limiters on all big trucks operating in the province to be set at 105 km/h, but implementation is in question.

“They have legislation introduced in Quebec, but they’ve given indications that they won’t enforce it until the rest of Canada is onboard,” O’Neill told Land Line.

O’Neill said opponents of mandatory speed limiters want the provinces to wait on studies being conducted by the federal transportation ministry, Transport Canada, before making decisions about a mandate. They want studies on economics, trade implications and safety aspects of speed limiters.

For those wishing to write to Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley or Premier Dalton McGuinty, their addresses are:
Jim Bradley
Ontario Transportation Minister
Ferguson Block, 3rd Floor
77 Wellesley St. W.
Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8

Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Ferguson Block, 12th Floor
77 Wellesley St. W.
Toronto, ON M7A 1N3

– By David Tanner, staff writer